The severity of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), although the effects do end, (sometimes during pregnancy, and sometimes at or just after birth) it is not surprising that there are lasting after effects. 15 months after I stopped experiencing the 24/7 nausea which lasted from week 6 of my pregnancy until week 41 when Boo arrived I am still dealing with the effects and changes that surviving this horrible condition has brought.
I suffered with endless vomiting from about week 8 until week 17, unable to keep any food down most of the time and water down a lot of the time. I lay in bed (once the dr has signed me off) or if I was feeling brave crawled downstairs lay on the sofa and stared at the TV, sick bowl by my side. Some weeks I did not leave the house. It’s all a bit of a blur, looking back. Once the vomiting retreated I was left with 24/7 nausea which lasted until I went into labour at 41 weeks.
The nausea was easier to deal with in some ways, as it meant (provided I eat something every two hours, even if it was a couple of bites of apple, and endlessly sipped water) I could return to work and get a little bit of a life back. It was relentless though, the nausea, at times I forgot how it felt to not feel like I wanted to be sick, I forgot what food actually tasted like, everything tasted wrong. I just wanted to reach my due date and for it to be over. I didn’t enjoy pregnancy, in fact I don’t feel like I had a pregnancy.
But once I went in to labour (I was obviously a bit distracted) and although I remember throwing up a couple of times during labour I don’t remember feeling sick. And after I gave birth to Boo it was incredible the change that I felt. Miraculous – like I had spent 9 months feeling cool and suddenly the aeroplane doors opened and I was bathed in the heat of a sunny holiday destination. The nausea that had crept in so slowly at first was gone, swept away. And I thought that would be the last of would think of HG forever.
It’s strange in a way, until I had read Hyperemesis Gravidarum: The Definitive Guide written by two amazing ladies – Caitlin Dean over at Spewing Mummy & Amanda Shortman over at The Family Patch . (You can read my review of Hyperemesis Gravidarum: The Definitive Guide here.) I didn’t really think about any of the changes as being a direct result of suffering with HG, I didn’t really know where they came from, the worries of a new mum maybe? Craziness from sleep deprivation quite possibly? But once I started to think about it, it made sense.
A fear of getting ill that is
probably definitely irrational- I am not saying that I was unhygienic before, I used to wash my hands and obviously pay attention to food hygiene in terms of cooking, my kitchen and my fridge but now – anything remotely near it’s use by date… in the bin, anything that’s been open ‘too long’ (which can be a mere 24 hours depending on what it is, and my currently level of crazy… in the bin. Hand washing is now obsessive and my hands are so dry they look like they belong to a 900 year old woman.
My husband thinks I am crazy, he shudders at the wasted food, and probably the cost of hand soap and hand cream too! But he knows that I can’t really help it, and I think we both hope that things lessen over time.
I also have retained several food aversions, and if a food was especially unpleasant for me to eat whilst I was pregnant then I still have trouble eating it now. I have to remind myself with each bite that porridge does not have the horrid metallic taste which plagued me through pregnancy.
I have flash backs of how certain foods made me feel, smelling a certain food (like cooking Jacket Potatoes the other day) made me feel so nauseous I physically could not bring myself to eat it, and luckily my husband was home so he could prepare them. What’s strange, however, is that I have cooked Jacket Potatoes many times since I have had Boo and cooking them has never set things off like that before, so I am hoping it was just a one time thing.
Feeling travel sick now is so much worse. Travel sickness is something which I have suffered with since I was a child, but it seems so much worse since I was pregnant. I barely travels during the first half of my pregnancy as I would throw up as soon as the car started moving. It did lessen during the second half, but didn’t disappear completely.
I caught a stomach bug a couple of months back, and it sent me in to a complete panic, I felt poorly for two days and it was honestly like the end of the world. I was back there in the middle of my HG. It was awful and every time I get ill I just know that it’s going to take me back to that dark place.
Surviving Hyperemesis Gravidarum was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to endure but Boo was worth every single second and it was thinking of her and the support of my husband that got me though it. And it is Boo and my husband that help me deal with it’s after effects too.